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Los Argüellos Biosphere Reserve, Spain


Los Argüellos is located in the northern centre of the León Province, including the municipalities of Vegacervera, Cármenes and Valdelugueros. The region has interesting geomorphological characteristics with numerous caves such as Valporquero, Llamazares and Barredo.

Designation date: 2005


Regional network:  EuroMAB and IberoMAB

Ecosystem-based network: Global Change in Mountain Regions (GLOCHAMORE) and Global and Climate Change in Mountain Sites (GLOCHAMOST)




    Surface: 33.266.03 ha

    • Core area(s):  5.900,00 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 24.852,71 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 2.513,32 ha

    Location: 05o 29' 45.21"W; 42o 58' 00.55"N

    Administrative Authorities 

    Ayuntamiento de Valdelugueros

    Emilia Orejas Orejas
    C/ España, 2  24843  Lugueros (León ) ESPAÑA

    Tel.: 987743163

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    Ecological Characteristics

    Los Argüellos is an example of a Cantabrian mountain ecosystem where for centuries the population has made wise use of the scant resources, thus shaping a unique landscape.

    The Biosphere Reserve includes geo-morphological characteristics of undeniable attraction, among them numerous caves such as those of Valporquero, Llamazares and Barredo, of great tourist and scientific interest.

    Together with others also modelled by the action of water, but by completely different processes, are the spectacular gorges of Vegacervera and Baldeteja, combining with open valleys where friable material has given way to the excavation of water courses.

    A varied vegetation is present, ranging from Alpine grasslands to an abundant series of endemic species such as the endemic forests of JuniperusSpp, to the oak groves of Quercus pyrenaica near the Mediterranean environment. Other ecosystems such as the sub-steppe areas of annual grasses, active highland peatbogs and tufa-forming springs are note worthy.

    The numerous caves and crannies are home to 15 of the 26 species of bats existing in the Iberian Peninsula. Together with them are many birds of prey and two characteristic vertebrates of Cantabrian mountain ecosystems: the Grey Partridge and the Broom Hare. Mention should also be made of the Brown Bear, one of the most endangered species in the Iberian Peninsula.

    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The main human activity has always been livestockraising, traditionally the chief source of wealth of the region. Presently this is complemented with other activities such as hunting and low impact tourist uses.





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    Last updated: February 2019